Take a trip to Marseille
Under Greek (Massalia), Roman (Massilia) and medieval (Masiho) power in its day, with a history dating back more than 2,600 years, Marseille has maintained its unique spirit. Exploring Marseille and its many quarters will make you aware of the city’s appeal. Far from the enduring clichés that the city can’t seem to shake off, modern day Marseille has infinite touristic possibilities. As for the scenery, between the magnificent stone sights and sea views, you won’t be disappointed. So don’t wait any longer, let’s head to Marseille!
For more details, consult our Blog entry for must-sees in Marseille.
Tour guides in Marseille
Five ideas for guided tours in Marseille
Only 10 kilometers from the Vieux-Port (old port), this district started as a tiny fishing hamlet. Its name means « home port » in the local language. By the end of the 19th century, however, the area had become a hot spot for great painters, cubist expressionists, from Cézanne to Braque, and has barely changed since that time. The Estaque has kept its village spirit. Get lost in its charming back alleys, admire the local houses with their red roofs… and meet up at the small fishing port. Here you’ll also find one of Marseille’s loveliest beaches, Corbière, leading up to the Côte Bleue’s rocky inlets. Situated facing the Nerthe hills, the port is entirely protected from the Mistral (southern winds) which can blow with incredible force through the region at times.
Le Vieux-Port (Old Port)
All of Marseille comes together at the Vieux Port. The area has even become the symbol of the city and is the starting point of the famous Canebrière Avenue. Originally, the port was the economic heart of Marseille, but all fishing activity disappeared indefinitely in 1976 when it became a spot for pleasure-sailing and home to the famous fish market. After several years of renovation, the area has been transformed for pedestrians who can now stroll about or enjoy numerous bars and restaurants.
The Frioul islands
After roaming the streets of Marseille, opt for a boat getaway with a magnificent view of the city. In only a 30-minute crossing, you’ll find a complete change of scenery. The archipelago of Frioul is made of four islands. Ratonneau, home of the Frioul port, is linked to Pomègues via the Berry dyke. These two islands offer the prettiest hikes around, with an astonishing variety of flora and fauna native to the beaches, coves and natural landscapes. You’ll also find Tiboulen island, non-accessible via shuttle, and If with its Francois I era fortress, later used as a prison for religious wars.
The radient cité (Cité radieuse) and the Mamo
A fan of architecture? Go peek at the radiant Cité, also known as the “House of mad ones”, located at 280 Michelet Boulevard in the 8th arrondissement. The building was constructed by the architect Le Corbusier between 1947 and 1952. It was meant to symbolize a new style of living and is considered an avant-garde masterpiece, offering a maximum level of comfort to its resident families. The building contains 337 apartments in addition to several businesses and even a hotel. The roof, which used to hold a gymnasium, now holds the contemporary art and design gallery Mamo, after Marseille Modulor.
Le Vallon des Auffes (The Auffes dell)
Less than 3 kilometers from the Vieux-Port, under the Kennedy cliff and a stone’s throw from the famous Catalans beach, you’ll find a magical and preserved spot. The small fishing port of the Vallon des Auffes is situated in the 7th arrondissement and was constructed in the 19th century. Makers of nautical rigging were the first to establish themselves there. The area, with its nets and colorful huts, is so charming that you’ll have the impression of visiting a postcard. Fishermen continue to live in this lovely cove today, selling their catches to local restaurants. Make sure you visit this unmissable spot. Even better, enlist the help of a Marseille private guide who would love to help you discover the city.